PostScript Printing Tips

brought to you by...Dogstar Music


If you haven't done so already, get yourself Ghostscript and GS-View and install it on your system. Click HERE for more information. This will allow you to view and/or print PostScript files, convert them to PDF format, and do other neat things with them. Best of all, it's free!

That being said, you don't have to use Ghostscript/GSview, say if it's not available for your platform (unlikely) or for whatever other reason, IF you have a PostScript printer. The .PSZ (zipped PostScript) files can be expanded to the original .PS file using GZIP and most other archive utilities such as Winzip, then printed directly to PostScript printers by porting them to your printer port. In DOS, the command would be (assuming PostScript printer on LPT1):


Restrictions: Some PS printers may require page setup, etc. in advance of sending the file. You also won't have any control over pagination, printing selected pages, etc.

Bottom line - even when using PostScript printers, GSview is a real boon. In addition to the other benefits offered by the PS format over proprietary equivalents like PDF, GSview will even open the gzip'd PS files (.psz) on this site directly, without first unpacking.

Printing from GSview is accomplished with the usual File --> Print routine. If using a PostScript printer, you can check the "Postscript Printer" checkbox to send the raw file straight to the printer. If using a non-Postscript printer, or if your printer balks at the direct approach, select the "mswinpr2" device, and output gets routed through Windows' usual printer driver system.


Quite a few musical scores and other documents are printed in the popular A4-size paper format. Popular, that is, everywhere except North America. There are a couple approaches to solving this dilemma, allowing you to print A4-formatted files to letter-size paper.

The most direct approach to this is to edit the PostScript file to rescale its output. Werner Icking at GMD offers one such method. Click HERE for a rundown on this method (use your browser's BACK button to get back here afterwards). To use this method you'll need a decent text editor (Notepad or Wordpad just won't cut it). I suggest "Programmer's File Editor" (PFE) available for free from many ftp sites.

Another approach involves the use of Adobe's (free) "Acrobat Reader". Step-by-step instructions follow (for PC Windows), in case the abbreviated instructions on the GMD site leave you wondering:

  1. Launch GSview. Click the A4 listing so that the checkmark appears next to it. Click on Media --> Display Settings. Set Resolution according to your display resolution: suggested values - for 800x600 use 96. For 1024x768 use 120. For 1280x1024 use 144. Set Text and Graphics Alpha to 4 bits. Set Depth to 8 bits, or leave at default. (This gives the best possible anti-aliasing for your screen display.)

  2. Load your file ( using File --> Open. If your file is compressed using gzip (e.g. or foobar.psz) you don't have to bother unzipping it; GSview will unzip it on the fly.

  3. We're now going to convert the PostScript file to a PDF file. This is done by "printing" it to a new filename (before V3.3). Select File --> Print. Under "Device" select "pdfwrite". Under "Resolution" select 300. Check the "Print to File" checkbox. Select any special page options as needed (odd/even pages only, etc.). Click OK.

    As of V3.3, this procedure has been simplified somewhat with the Convert... option in the File menu. This will already have the pdfwrite driver set as default.

  4. You're now asked for a file name and save location. Use whatever filename you like, but be sure to add the .PDF extension. Browse to where you want the file saved, and click OK.

  5. You can now close down GSview. Launch Acrobat Reader, and open the file you just created. If you're using version 3.x (as you'll have to if using Win3.x), don't fall off your chair when the display appears: it'll be UGLY. Don't worry about that, it'll print out just fine. If you're using version 4.x, the display will still not be the greatest, but a lot better than version 3.

  6. Select File --> Print, and be sure that the "Fit to Page" checkbox is selected. Set up your printer as per usual, (don't forget to specify Letter-size paper) and click OK. You'll end up with an entirely acceptable printed output of your A4 score.


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If you have any comments, suggestions, kudos, flames (?) please e-mail me, Fred Nachbaur
This page last updated Sep. 25, 2000.

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